Siding For: Zoodiacs Part 2

Kelly Locke

2/16/2017 11:02:00 AM

Zoodiac variants are now among the top decks to beat, and players have already begun adjusting their Side Decks to address the new match-up. In Part 1 we talked about the different components of the Zoodiac deck; how they work together, and the sorts of wrenches we can toss in to break the engine. Now we're getting into the specifics: which cards best exploit the deck's vulnerabilities?

Not every card will work against all variants of Zoodiacs. In some cases you'll be better off siding the cards you'd normally play in that match-up. For example, Infernoid Zoodiacs are still weak to Imperial Iron Wall, Chaos Hunter, and Artifact Lancea. But you may want to adjust your picks to counter Zoodiac Drident, or other new Xyz options that Zoodiac-infused decks have access to. Imperial Iron Wall's good, but Artifact Lance can't be destroyed by Drident's effect and tends to be a bit more successful at stopping your opponent for a turn.

Nearly Every Hand Trap Is Amazing
The game's top hand traps – Maxx “C”, Flying “C”, Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries, and even D.D. Crow – are all playable against Zoodiacs. There's a reason why OCG lists are loaded with those cards. The “C” family is especially great, particularly Maxx “C”.

Chaining Maxx “C” to Zoodiac Barrage, or activating it when the first Zoodiac monster hits the field, is the quickest way to bring your opponent's plays to a halt. Zoodiacs Special Summon a lot over the course of their best combos, and forcing your opponent to stop their plays altogether leaves them exposed and vulnerable. Nobody wants to leave a Zoodiac Ratpier on the field, and especially not in Attack Position.

Maxx “C” remains a great Side Deck choice whether you're going first or second, but its ‘stopping power' can be hit or miss, depending on whether or not your opponent can end the game that turn. Other hand traps are the best way to make sure your opponent stops Summoning after seeing Maxx “C”, or if they don't, they're the ideal cards to draw into to punish your opponent. Among them, Flying “C” is one of the best possible picks against non-Metalfoes or Infernoid variants. Shutting off the ability to Xyz Summon disables the entire engine and brings Zoodiac plays to a grinding halt.

 Maxx "C"
Set Storm of Ragnarok
Number STOR-EN086
Level 2
Type Effect Monster
Monster Insect
Attribute EARTH 
A / D 500 / 200
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

You can activate this effect during either player's turn by sending this card from your hand to the Graveyard. This turn, each time your opponent Special Summon a monster(s), draw 1 card. You can only activate "Maxx "C"" once per turn.

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hotspot gaming Unlimited - Damaged 4 $8.89
hotspot gaming 1st Edition - Damaged 1 $10.99
realworldgames Unlimited - Lightly Played 1 $11.91
Gooses Games Unlimited - Lightly Played 1 $11.92
Cardmonstergamez 1st Edition - Heavily Played 1 $12.25
Legit MTG Unlimited - Moderately Played 1 $12.71
Four Horsemen Unlimited - Lightly Played 2 $13.04
Game Haven Sandy Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $13.91
Top Caliber Unlimited - Near Mint 2 $13.93
Anonymous Bards 1st Edition - Moderately Played 1 $14.14

Unfortunately Flying “C” is easily dispatched by Zoodiac Barrage, Metalfoe Pendulum effects, and Infernoid banish effects. Skilled players will play around Flying “C” even before it hits the field. Once your opponent knows you're playing it they'll be even more careful. Flying “C” might not always have the intended impact, but it can force suboptimal plays. At best Flying “C” will disable your opponent's entire Zoodiac engine, and that makes it worth playing in the OCG at least. It's clearly best suited against decks that can't take it off the field immediately, although so far the two most popular Zoodiac variants can do exactly that.

Retaliating “C” searches both Maxx “C” and Flying “C”, and these days there are many, many ways to trigger its search effect. Zoodiac Barrage, Metalfoes, and even True King Lithosagym, the Disaster can destroy a Retaliating “C” on your side of the field. Retaliating “C” can't be chained to Zoodiac Barrage, but it will stop monsters detached as Xyz Materials from hitting the graveyard, so it can still provide some effective disruption.

Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit has finally found its home as a must-play high utility hand trap. It'll mostly show up in Side Decks, but I'd expect to see it in plenty of Main Decks too. It won't be quite as ubiquitous as Maxx “C”, of course. Ghost Ogre knocks out Zoodiac Barrage and the major Zoodiac Xyz Monsters. Even if your opponent can draw out another Zoodiac Ratpier they've lost a crucial component of their combo. You can also destroy Speedroid Terrortop and prevent an M-X-Saber Invoker from hitting the field. Nuking a Zoodiac Drident later in the duel will, at the very least, clear the field and prevent Zoodiac Whiptail from banishing an attacking monster.

Where Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit really shines is against Zoodiac Metalfoes hybrids. Ghost Ogre is already great against Metalfoes, so you could easily get away with siding in three copies for the match-up. It continues to be a great pick across the board, hitting D/D's and ABC's in addition to Metalfoes and Zoodiacs. That's a lot of coverage from just one hand trap, and it absolutely deserves attention from players with cramped Side Decks.

Finally, Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries represents a potentially strong pick against Zoodiacs. You can snipe Invoker, or simply take out Zoodiac Drident when your opponent puts two monsters on the field at the same time. Your choice of hand trap will ultimately come down to your supporting spells and traps. Dimensional Barrier and Ghost Ogre play well together, while Solemn Strike is a slightly better pairing with Ghost Reaper. If you're not playing many traps, then Maxx “C”, Flying “C”, and potentially Retaliating “C” are awesome picks.

More Options For Going First
From Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo to Vanity's Fiend, there are dozens of anti-Summon floodgates you can play that will completely shut down the Zoodiac engine. Some of them are temporary, like Dimensional Barrier, while others will stick around for the remainder of the duel. Fossil Dyna and other weaker floodgate monster can end up being run over by Zoodiac Thoroughblade or Zoodiac Whiptail. A set Fossil Dyna's actually a serious threat to Zoodiac set-ups, and forces them to make Diamond Dire Wolf before attacking. Otherwise, Fossil Dyna will be flipped up and destroy their field.

Power Filter's an interesting pick that keeps your opponent from Summoning several key Zoodiac monsters. It's definitely a better pick than Summon Limit or Summon Breaker, and keeps a host of other problem cards from being Special Summoned, including Speedroid Takentomborg. Only Zoodiac Thoroughblade and Zoodiac Whiptail can be Special Summoned under Power Filter, but like many other continuous floodgates it's easily blown away by Twin Twisters.

 Chain Disappearance
Chain Disappearance67089
Set Legendary Collection 3: Yugi's World
Number LCYW-EN289
Type Trap Card
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Common
Card Text

When a monster(s) with 1000 or less ATK is Summoned: Banish that monster(s), then your opponent banishes all cards with the same name as that card(s) from their hand and Deck.

Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
Davis Cards & Games Unlimited - Damaged 1 $0.15
ZLinked Gaming 1st Edition - Lightly Played 1 $0.20
BlackBearSPLBoundSTR 1st Edition - Lightly Played 1 $0.20
Davis Cards & Games Unlimited - Moderately Played 1 $0.25
IDeal808 1st Edition - Near Mint 79 $0.25
Davis Cards & Games 1st Edition - Damaged 2 $0.25
realgoodeal Unlimited - Near Mint 107 $0.28
MTGFirst 1st Edition - Lightly Played 1 $0.30
NeutronBlastGaming 1st Edition - Near Mint 2 $0.30
MagnificentTCG 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $0.30

If you're playing first you'll have a chance to use real traps rather than hand traps. Popular choices like Dimensional Barrier, Solemn Strike, and Solemn Warning are joined by Chain Disappearance, which banishes all copies of Zoodiac Ratpier in one shot. It's the quickest way to turn off the engine. Players over the last weekend were only running a set of Ratpier in many of the hybrid builds, so Chain Disappearance acted as a one-card solution to the entire Zoodiac engine.

Torrential Tribute and Mirror Force variants are solid options as long as Twin Twisters stays far, far away. Since Zoodiac Drident can't destroy set cards you're safe to set backrow, then flip it to destroy a large chunk of your opponent's set-up. Storming Mirror Force and Drowning Mirror Force become relevant and dangerous late in the turn, but they can win games by successfully resolving.

Picks For Going Second
The quickest way to break the Zoodiac board is with mass removal. Dark Hole, Raigeki, and Interrupted Kaiju Slumber punish your opponent for fielding large boards of monsters that don't replace themselves upon destruction. It's rare to see an entire theme that isn't full of Pendulums, or monsters with graveyard-activated effects. It's an opportunity to really exploit mass removal, and even makes Lighting Vortex a better choice over Book of Eclipse.

Zoodiac Drident's destruction effect can be a major roadblock to clearing your opponent field on the first turn. Drident can prevent your Field and Continuous Spells from resolving, knock out Pendulum Scales, or destroy monsters before you can activate their effects or use them for Xyz or Synchro Summons. Anti-Drident tech doesn't get much better than My Body as a Shield, namely because it both negates and destroys Drident. While it won't keep your spells and traps safe, it will let you push through with a monster-heavy play.

My Body As A Shield isn't just useful for stopping Drident. It's also a great counter to Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit and mass removal. It's particularly strong in Zoodiacs, where you can use it to protect your set-ups and ensure that your monsters stick around on the field. It's a great all-around card that hasn't seen play for a long time, but it's well-positioned now as an answer to the format's biggest threats. Keep it in mind when you're siding against Zoodiacs, because there's a good chance they're siding it against you.

Almost every card that we've discussed in this article has utility in at least one other match-up. Pure Zoodiac looks like they might be see far less play than hybrid variants, so siding cards that only work against Zoodiacs will be risky. As YCS Seattle looms in the near future players should look back at the past weekend, check which variants were most successful, and gear their Side Decks to answer them. At the time of writing both Metalfoes Zoodiacs and Infernoid Zoodiacs look like the top contenders. I recommend concentrating your efforts there, and finding the best mix of solutions to the Zoodiac engine and the deck it's integrated into.

Until next time then


Kelly​​ ​​Locke​​ ​​is​​ ​​a​​ ​​West​​ ​​Michigan​​ ​​gamer,​​ ​​writer,​​ ​​and​​ ​​college​​ ​​student.​​ ​​​​ ​​In​​ ​​addition​​ ​​to​​ ​​writing​​ ​​on TCGplayer,​​ ​​Kelly​​ ​​writes​​ ​​​​personal​​ ​​blog​​​​ ​​covering​​ ​​Yugioh,​​ ​​Destiny,​​ ​​and​​ ​​other​​ ​​hobbies.​​ ​​You​​ ​​can follow​​ ​​him​​ ​​on​​ ​​​​Twitter​​​​ ​​and​​ ​​check​​ ​​out​​ ​​his​​ ​​​​Youtube​​ ​​channel​​.​​ ​​​​ ​​He​​ ​​is​​ ​​currently​​ ​​studying​​ ​​marketing​​ ​​at Western​​ ​​Michigan​​ ​​University,​​ ​​and​​ ​​hopes​​ ​​to​​ ​​graduate​​ ​​before​​ ​​​​Dragon​​ ​​Ravine​​​​ ​​is​​ ​​Unlimited.

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